State demands gas stations pay up for Harvey price gouging

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The state has formally notified 127 gas stations that they were guilty of price gouging during the Hurricane Harvey emergency.

Ironically, a statement Monday from the Texas Attorney General’s Office says numerous violations involved gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of North Texas, an area where the weather was virtually unaffected by the storm.

One group charged was in the North Texas area, the Bains Brothers, owners of Texaco-branded gas stations in Arlington and Carrollton. Two of the stations allegedly charged $6.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas on Aug. 31, even while displaying signs with prices in the $3-$4 range, according to the attorney general’s office. .

Attorney General Ken Paxton said the stations will have an opportunity to resolve the gouging complaints with the AG’s office. Otherwise, they face possible court action. Businesses found in violation would face civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation as well as refund requirements.

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The statement said the price-gouging investigation continues.

During the Harvey emergency, the AG’s Consumer Protection Division received about 5,500 price-gouging complaints.